The Brand New Alga Norte Community Park Has ArrivedYou might have heard the buzz about the brand new Alga Norte Community Park. And if you haven’t, let us be the first to introduce you to Carlsbad’s newest thirty-two-acre park at the corner of Poinsettia Lane and Alicante Road, just east of El Camino Real. Alga Norte boasts sports pools, ball fields, a dog park, a skate park, playground and picnic areas. 92009 Magazine was at the grand opening on Jan. 11 – and so was a helicopter dropping hundreds of rubber ducks into the pool! We talked with Park Planning Manager Liz Ketabian about the inspiration behind the new park and what it took to bring vision to reality for the Carlsbad community.
Q&A with Park Planning Manager Liz Ketabian
Liz, what are your responsibilities as park planning manager?
As a park planner, I am responsible for making sure our parks meet the community’s needs, and that when they’re built, they adhere to our design plans.
What other local projects have you worked on?
I have been very involved in overseeing the city’s forty-six mile trail system, which is a real passion of mine. I have also been involved in the design and development of the historic Leo Carrillo Ranch, and Hidden Canyon, Pine Avenue and Aviara community parks. I’ve also been involved with enhancement projects, such as picnic shelters, parking lots and tennis courts, at Calavera Hills, Stagecoach, and Poinsettia community parks.
What was the inspiration for Alga Norte?
It came from the community. Since we are a coastal city, the community really wanted to see more places where kids could learn to swim. And, as the population has increased, we needed more pools to accommodate swim teams, masters programs, water polo and other swimming events. The other park features were ones residents requested, like the dog park and more ball fields. One of the great things about Carlsbad is our Growth Management Plan. It makes sure that amenities like parks and libraries keep pace with the community’s needs. Alga Norte Community Park was planned many years ago in anticipation of the city’s future development. It’s great to see it come to life.
When did construction start on the new park?
Construction began in June 2012.
Please explain the highlights of the brand new Alga Norte Community Park.
The park was designed with extensive input from the community, so all of the features are ones our residents told us were important. One of the most prominent features is the new aquatic center, with a fifty-six-meter competition pool and a twenty-five-yard instructional pool heated to high 80s year-round for swim lessons and fitness classes. It also has a warm water spa for adults and a splash pad for kids. The new skate park is a show stopper. It has a street plaza course and two bowls; one reminiscent of a backyard swimming pool. The dog park has separate areas for large and small dogs, plus a separate area where we’ll offer dog training classes. There are lighted ball fields with a snack bar, and a huge shaded playground, too.
When did the park open? What were some of the highlights of the opening event?
The park opened in January. We had a great event for the entire community. The Carlsbad City Council presided over the official opening ceremony, and then it was time to play! The pools were open, and we had professional divers and a water polo game. Kids took advantage of free skateboarding lessons at the skate park and got to see some pros show off their moves. We also had dog agility demonstrations, and lots of ball games with celebrity announcers.
How was/is the park funded?
The park was paid for with a combination of developer fees and the city’s “General Fund,” which comes mainly from sales tax, property tax and hotel room tax collected by the City. Ongoing operations of the park will be paid for through the General Fund and from fees paid for swimming lessons, classes, camps and other programs.
Alga Norte Community Park
Park Size: 32 acres
Address: 6565 Alicante Rd., Carlsbad, CA 92009
Phone Number: 760-268-4777
Briefly describe the expansive areas of the new park (aquatic center, skate park, dog park, playground, etc.).
The aquatic center features a twelve-lane, twenty-five-yard instructional pool heated to high 80s year round, a fifty-six-meter by twenty-five-yard competition pool, diving boards, a spectator area for the competition pool, a warm water spa for adults, a children’s splash pad, a fitness room, heated locker rooms, a concession stand, and a meeting room and outdoor areas available for rent. The skate park has two bowls; one reminiscent of a backyard swimming pool. The “street” plaza course is for beginners and more advanced skaters. The skate park will be lit until 10 p.m., and the park features shaded picnic tables available for birthday parties. We’ll also be offering classes, camps and clinics year round. The one-acre dog park provides off-leash fun with separate areas for small and large dogs, drinking fountains for dogs and people, dog agility props and shaded picnic areas. In addition to dog training classes, we’ll offer agility classes and even doggie birthday parties. The park features two synthetic turf fields and one natural turf field. There is also one lighted full basketball court and one half court. The park offers shaded picnic areas with barbecues, and a shaded playground with areas for younger (ages 3 to 5) and older kids (ages 6 to 12).
What is the environmental impact of the park?
Alga Norte Community Park is the “greenest” park in the city. It features solar heated pools, water efficient landscaping, low-energy use lighting, synthetic turf ball fields and lawn areas and special drainage and filtration system to treat storm water runoff. The playground surface is even made from recycled rubber tires.
What are some of the unique aspects or programs available at Alga Norte?
The new park gives the city an opportunity to offer a lot of fun new programs, like paddleboard pool yoga, deep water boot camp, skateboard camps and dog agility classes. In the summer we’ll have fun new events, like floating movie nights. And, we’ll have giant inflatables in the pool with areas for jumping and sliding, and giant water balls that let you walk on water. You can also sign up for pool memberships to get unlimited use of the pool, classes and fitness room.
Are there fees to use the park?
Most of the park is free. Entry to the new aquatic center is $5 for adults and $3 for those 17 and under, or you can buy one or three month memberships. Carlsbad residents get a ten percent discount. You can check out the classes available at the park by visiting www.carlsbadconnect.org. Fees for specific classes and camps are listed there and in the Community Services Guide, which is available at all City buildings.
What programs, leagues and services are available to residents?
All of the programs at the park are available to city residents, and residents get a special rate. To see the full lists of offerings, visit www.carlsbadconnect.org.
What was the most memorable part of working on Alga Norte Community Park?
This park has been in the planning stages for many years, so it was exciting to see it come together in just eighteen months of construction. The care that was taken with every detail was truly extraordinary. Most of all, it was a privilege to see the community’s vision for their new park come to life, right before my eyes. It was a lot of work, but it’s all worth it when I see people’s reaction the first time they see it in person.
Are there any resources specifically for children, teens, adults or seniors?
We are offering skateboard camps and clinics for kids and teens. The aquatic center offers programs for all ages, starting swimming lessons at six months all the way to adult and senior water fitness programs. We are also proud to offer flag football for the first time. This summer you’ll see lots of fun camps for kids and teens, too.
Now that the park is open, what is in store for the future work on the park?
During the first months of operation we’ll be fine-tuning our operations and monitoring the participation in all our fun new programs. This will help us know how to plan for future programs and events.
What is something that most residents may not know about the park or its construction?
The environmental features of the park are integrated so seamlessly, many people won’t even notice them, yet together they will save taxpayers thousands of dollars a year in water and energy costs, while helping to protect the environment. Another fact relates to the dog park. We put in a filtration system that will minimize the potential for contaminants getting into the storm drain. The connection to that drain ultimately feeds into the ocean, so it’s important to ensure the water conveyed from the park site is clean and fresh.
ALGA NORTE COMMUNITY PARK
• The pools have a combined capacity of more than one million gallons of water
• The park has more than 65,000 plants and 350 trees
• Picnic tables, pool areas and playground equipment are covered with 43 shade structures throughout the park
• There is more than 6,000 feet of sidewalk
• By using the latest technology in irrigation control, the city saved more than 50 miles of copper wire
• The solar thermal panels can increase the pool temperature by 8 to 10 degrees
• The skate park is the largest in the county at 30,000 square feet
• The city has recycled 70 percent of the construction waste
• The city reduced energy consumption by 30 percent using sustainable design practices. This translates to 700 tons of carbon emissions, or 147 vehicles off the road, or the electrical consumption of 100 homes.